[imagesource: Ashraf Hendricks / GroundUp]
The first time South Africans were told that they needed to batten down the hatches and stay indoors, we were pretty compliant.
In fact, standing by the window and ratting out those who didn’t play ball on neighbourhood Facebook groups became something of a national sport, and videos soon emerged of police cracking down on those breaking the law.
Will South Africans be as compliant a second time around? We may soon find out.
Murmurs of a second ‘hard’ lockdown started last week, and grew far louder over the weekend, with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking rather bluntly on Sunday.
This from News24:
“Looking at the statistics around us, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown – if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour.
“Let me make this clear: a second wave of Covid-19 will be stronger and deadlier, not only in terms of taking human lives, it could deal our economy a major blow,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala was talking about the increasing infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal, but he was backed up by statements from Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, and Mangaung metro spokesperson Qondile Khedama.
In addition, we know where our health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, stands on the matter.
I don’t think anybody needs to rush out and buy all the booze they can lay their hands on (wait for the fake voicenote), but it’s now been confirmed that we’re due another Cyril Ramaphosa 8PM special this week.
Is he coming for your cigarettes? What about your Woolies roast chicken? Next thing you know there’ll be a ban on the sale of open-toed shoes again.
OK, relax. The president will address the nation at some stage in the coming days, and you pretty much write the script for this one.
There’s the start – “my fellow South Africans” (that’s when you know you’re in trouble) – there’s the preamble, with platitudes and some statistics, and then he’ll get down to the business of chastising South Africans for becoming lax in our attitudes regarding the spread of COVID-19.
Police minister Bheki Cele and the camera crew trailing him were out in force this past weekend, shutting down nightclubs and saying ominously that “if the second waves comes, not many will survive”.
There is really no perfect solution to dealing with this pandemic, but, as TimesLIVE points out, “a hard lockdown will sound the death knell for our economy and this is what we need to avoid at all costs”:
Data has shown that while we were able to delay the spread with our heavy lockdown – one of the harshest in the world – we were unable to stop transmission for a number of reasons…
The government needs to urgently renew our test-and-trace mechanisms and reinstate resources to healthcare facilities as the slow and steady figures threaten to snowball.
But most of all, citizens need to go back into alert mode.
Therein lies the crux, really.
The last thing any of us want is a return to a hard lockdown (no matter the degree of harshness), and our early efforts the first time around were subsequently undone by large-scale looting of funds, and a lack of an integrated approach when it came to community screening and tracking, among other reasons.
As countries across Europe enter varying degrees of lockdown once more (Italians have reacted with violent protests), we cannot afford to follow suit.
Given our government’s blunders thus far, all that we can really bank on is taking personal responsibility, and hoping that others do the same, while we figure out the best way forward.
When someone says Wuhan these days, the first thing that comes to mind is the pandemic. ...
After a sustained period of refusing to play ball, Cape Town has finally ticked over into ...
It's tough to know who is the weakest cog in the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the ...
[imagesource: Twitter / @JJSubroyen] Part of the Engen oil refinery in Wentworth, south...
[imagesource:here] According to Urban Dictionary, many pastimes and beverages have a si...